Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another great post by Deacon Scott...

A humane view of "Of Human Life"

Building on something posted by Fred last evening over on Cahiers, The Inhumanity of the Megachurch Sex Marathon and a subsequent discussion, it is important to address, if briefly, an overlooked aspect of Humanae Vitae, namely that birth control, which deals with both the numbering and spacing of children, is seen as a moral duty. It is pretty clearly taught in this much maligned teaching that no couple is obligated to have as many children as they possibly can. On the contrary, HV was written at the time when dire predictions about overpopulation were widely, if uncritically, accepted. So, birth control, which is best achieved, according to HV, through abstinence, is seen as important by Paul VI. This can be verified by reading his remarkable encyclical Populorum Progresso. As to what many mistakenly refer to as "grave" reasons, the criteria are outlined by Paul VI in no. 10... [read the rest here].

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."